Julianne, good morning, and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. Please grab a seat in our cozy recliner, and be sure to get some delicious baked treats off the table to go with your hot cup of coffee. Also be sure to slip on the relaxing fuzzy pink slippers. The readers are very eager to learn more about Julianne Grider.
Julianne the readers would love to hear what a day is like for you once you awake. How do you begin your busy schedule?
Unfortunately, I am not a full-time author yet, so my day begins by getting my kids ready for school and then going off to work in a lab that tests and manufactures vitamins. However, when I leave work at 3, my real day begins. I meet my kids at the bus and we all go home to do our homework. My homework is my writing. When the kids get finished with their homework, I usually have to put my writing aside to start dinner. When the dinner rush is done and my kids settle down for the night, I sit down with my pen and paper again. When I’m done for the night, I grab a book and read until I fall asleep. When time allows on the weekends, I try to write as much as I can. That’s about it for me.
The readers are anxious to hear about your latest book, Maybe This Life. I believe the concept of the story revolves around a family affair. Can you please enlighten us about this story?
Maybe This Life is a story I wrote as a way of giving my great-grandmother a second chance at a happy life. My Nana endured a very abusive life – first by her mother and then by her husband. Though she had seven children who loved her dearly, I wanted to try to ‘rewrite’ her life so to speak. So, I added a love interest to her past and brought him back to life in the present where she could fall in love with a gentle, tender man.
Maybe This Life is a reincarnation story where Angelina (my Nana) comes back to life as her own great-great grandmother.
Also, my print cover has a faux old picture on the cover. The couple kissing is actually my grandmother (Angelina’s daughter) and my grandfather kissing before he went off to war. The woman wearing the locket is my daughter. (I kept the whole book a family affair. Lol)
Did the story pull on your heartstrings as you composed it?
Yes, my story pulled on my heartstrings. How could it not, when many of the abusive scenes that happened in the 1917 parts of the story, really happened to my great-gram. It made me sad for her.
The abuse that happens to the present Lena are embellished scenes, but things that I pulled from my own first marriage. So, it was hard not to get emotional writing it. But just like Lena, I found my own happy-ever-after with my real-life Prince Charming.
What would you say intrigues you about developing your characters?
I love to see what my characters are going to do next. I may be putting the words down on paper, but my characters are actually writing the story.
Did it take you long to compose the book?
Maybe This Life did take me long to write. I began it three years ago and actually finished it within that year. But after reading it over, I decided to scrap the whole thing (heartbreaking, really) and rewrite it. Before I started rewriting it though, I wrote my novel Unplugged (A Portrait of a Rock Star) which actually got published first.
Would you like to share an insight to anything else that you might be working on at the time?
Of course. I am currently working on what I hope to be a trilogy. It’s about a group of people called Empaths, who can feel other people’s pain and heal them with their touch. The first book is called Touch of Honor. My heroine’s name is Honor. You can read the first three chapters at the end of Maybe This Life.
What does your writing place look like?
My writing place is unconventional. I write from my couch in the living room. Having four kids, I do not have much time to be by myself; I am too much in need to hide in an office somewhere, so to be available to my children, I sit with them in the living room while they either read, color or watch television. My end table is filled with my books and writing supplies. I have a large wicker basket under my end table for whatever doesn’t fit on top, and I have one of those foldable snack tables for my laptop. I handwrite my novels, so I only need the laptop when I’m copying my chapters from my notebook.
Do you write on a schedule or as inspiration hits?
Nothing I do is done on a schedule. As much as I’d like to be one of those people, I am not. My mind, like my house, is an organized mess. Lol. However, much of my stories is developed in my head while I’m driving or doing common things that don’t take much thought. So, when I sit down to write, the words usually flow because I’ve had them in my mind all day.
What time of the day is more productive for you, to do your writing, morning or night?
The middle of the night is actually the most productive for me. I find I am most creative when I am suffering from insomnia. Alas, I have not had any recent episodes of insomnia in too long, so I write when I have the time, which is afterschool and in the evening. On weekends, I get a lot of writing done in the mornings, though.
Name three things you look for in a companion or friend.
A sense of humor, compassion and reliability.
If you could travel anywhere in the world for a week and vacation, where would you go?
Ocean City, New Jersey. It’s my absolute favorite place in the world.
You have just won a day to spend with any writer of your dreams. Who would you choose and how would you spend your day?
Well, first, I’d have to travel back in time. I’d love to spend a day with Jane Austen. I would spend the day asking her questions about Mr. Darcy and what her inspirations were for writing him. I’d also ask her how she was able to write with such sexual tension without her hero and heroine hardly saying two words to each other, as she did in my favorite book, Persuasion.
We are soon to be in the month of September. Where has this year gone? With the holidays slowly approaching, why not share with us how you plan to spend your festivities?
I spend my winter holidays with my family. I am the oldest of six siblings, so with us all having our own families now, we are a huge bunch. And we’re a close bunch. So we always spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve all together. We all live in northern New Jersey, so we see each other frequently throughout the year as well.
There comes a time we all need some comedy in our life. What is your favorite comedy show and favorite actor?
I don’t watch too much television anymore, but I must say Friends is still my favorite comedy. I watch the reruns whenever I can and I still crack up every time. I don’t really have a favorite actor, I’m more of a rock star fan myself, but if I had to choose, I would have to say Michael J. Fox. Besides being funny, he is a model for humanity.
Can you tell us something about you that make you unique?
I think one thing that makes me unique is that I actually CAN feel other people’s pain (just like the book I am currently writing). I have deep empathetic emotions that I am not necessarily happy about having. The pain I feel for others (even people I don’t even know) can be debillitating. I only wish I could heal people like my fictional characters in Touch of Honor can.
You are called upon, at a school, to tell those interested in becoming an author, all the ins and outs of good writing skills and getting published. Name three important elements in writing, publishing and promoting that you would give them.
In writing I would say it is important to find what inspires your own creativity. For me it is particular music. The band Daughtry’s music is one of the big ones for me. Matchbox Twenty is second. Without this music, I don’t think I could write as well. Listening to it allows me to find emotions deep inside me, and emotions help me to write more realistically.
In publishing, I would say RESEARCH. Research literary agents, publishing companies, pros and cons on self-publishing and indie publishing. After you’ve done your research, find what is best for you. Traditional publishing may not be for every author. Self-publishing/Indie publishing may not work for everyone. The more you know about both, the better informed you are to make your decision.
In promoting, I don’t have too much advice. I’m still trying to figure that out as well. I try to learn from author friends of mine. I download many books on the subject and I’m trying to make educated decisions on how to promote my books. Right now, my main venue is social media and my website. I hand out bookmarks when I see someone reading. Or if I’m in a doctor’s office waiting, andsomeone starts conversation with me, if it’s book related, I may hand them one of my bookmarks. One thing I do that may seem silly is I have huge car magnets made with my book covers on them and then the link to my website. They are plastered to both sides of my mini-van. When I am stuck in traffic, I notice people reading my van. When I get home and check sales, I’ve actually made a sale or two. I can’t say 100% that it’s from the magnets, but I think they are. I also had vinyl lettering made up and on the back of my white van, I have hot pink lettering that says, ROMANCE AUTHOR WWW.JPGRIDER.COM. It can’t hurt, right?
Thank you Julianne for being with us today. I look forward to reading all your wonderful stories.